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Wilkes Stepping Down

Following is a message from Executive Vice President for Health Affairs K. Craig Kent, MD, and Executive Vice President and Provost Liz Magill that was distributed on July 1, 2020:

Dear Colleagues,

We write with an update about the leadership of the School of Medicine (SOM).  David Wilkes, MD, will step down as Dean, but he has graciously agreed to a one-year reappointment that will enable him to remain as Dean while we conduct a national search for his replacement.

Since David became Dean in 2015, the SOM has made significant strides forward. Under his leadership, the medical school has increased research funding by over 25% to all-time record levels for the last three years. He attracted over two dozen new top research investigators adding an estimated $87M to the school’s research portfolio. Notable research during Dr. Wilkes’ tenure includes groundbreaking discoveries in diabetes resulting in an FDA approved artificial pancreas, discoveries related to the brain’s lymphatic system, trailblazing research in autism linking the microbiome to the development of autism, and the development of focused ultrasound for the treatment of essential tremor.  In addition, the SOM led efforts across grounds and the state, partnering with Virginia Tech-Carilion and Inova to receive funding for a prestigious NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), linking clinical, translational, and data sciences for biomedical research.

David has played an important role in growing the clinical enterprise, having recruited new chairs and initiated new clinical programs. David’s efforts helped improve our US News & World Report regional and national rankings, and his efforts have led to significant advances in patient safety, quality, and satisfaction.  David implemented a comprehensive annual review process for each of the departments, which has stimulated enhancements in patient care, research, and education.

During David’s tenure, the SOM increased the number of underrepresented minority (URM) medical students, now at 24%, garnering national accolades.  As well, there was a nearly three-fold increase in the percentage of URM residents and fellows and a 60% increase in URM faculty. He led efforts toward establishing a regional medical school campus in Northern Virginia through a partnership with Inova and has worked to establish stronger bonds between SOM and other schools across Grounds, culminating in two new degree programs in partnership with the McIntire School of Commerce.  Moreover, David has been a terrific partner and has helped UVA Health navigate a number of challenges over the past five years, including the events that took place in Charlottesville in August 2017, our struggles with billing and collections, the COVID-19 pandemic, and our recent need for financial mitigation.

Please join us in thanking David for his ongoing contributions as Dean. We look forward to continuing to work together over the coming year as we search for his replacement.  No doubt, these are big shoes to fill.

With gratitude,

Craig Kent, MD
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs

Liz Magill
Executive Vice President and Provost